North of England AA Indoor Championships 1999
Report by: Martin Cunnane
Sunday 17 January 1999 - Thornes Park, Wakefield
Wakefield Harriers athletes were in championship action last Sunday at Thornes Park, where some super individual efforts ensured Wakefield got their fair share of the medals on offer in part one of the North of England Indoor Athletic Championships.
The Harriers' only title success of the day was provided by last year's U/13 Outdoor Yorkshire 100m and long jump champion John Fletcher, now competing in the U/ 15 age group, who showed that the move up the age groups would do him no harm by taking gold in the U/15 boys long jump with his day's best effort of 5.16 metres seeing of the challelenge of Mandale's Nicky Swaile by eight centimetres, with Adam Fell of Holmfirth in the bronze medal position.
There were two medals for Wakefield in the senior women's shot where Vicki Shepherd claimed the silver medal with a creditable 11.89 metre putt with team mate Amanda Shephard taking bronze with her best throw of 11.34 metres. Sheffield-based international Nicola Gautier, who competes for Trafford AC took the gold and Wakefield's Commonwealth Games representative Kerry Jury filled 4th place after putting 11.08 metres with yet another Harriers senior heptathlon champ Becky Foster, taking 5th place with her best effort of 10.68 to give the Harriers four of the top five Places in the competition.
Staying with the senior women, veteran performer Jenny Cunnane stepped up on last year's place in the senior pole vault to capture a silver medal with her best clearance of 3m.The title was won by Commonwealth Games fourth-placer and UK indoor and outdoor pole vault record holder Janine Whitlock of Trafford AC who successfully defended her title by winning with her days best effort of 4 metres before failing narrowly at 4.13 metres which would have been a UK and all comers indoor record. Kelly Ridgeway took the bronze with 2.90m and Wakefields Vicky Mills finishing seventh with 2.20m after failing narrowly at 2.40m
Ruth Laybourn also collected silver in the U/15 long jump finishing just 35cms behind Sarah Bratley of Hull Springhead who won with a new championship best of 5.30m, with Mandale's Joanne Pybus collecting bronze just four cms down. Wakefield team mates Amy Fozzard and Olivia Smith filled fifth and ninth places respectively with leaps of 4.49 and 3.94 metres. Laybourn went on to finish six in the U/15 girls shot final with 8.15m, behind Kerry Elliott of Houghton & Peterlee, who took gold with a 9.48m putt.
First year U/17 man Alan Ruddock was well pleased with his 5.72m leap which brought him a well deserved bronze medal behind Mandale's Michael O'Brien who won with 6.03m. Ruddock, who claimed triple gold at U/15 level in last year's Yorkshire outdoor championships, will be in action again in the 60m sprint in part two of the Championships at Don Valley.
Wakefield's Charles Handley, who finished last season as UK ranked number two U/13 shot putter, just failed to make it into the medals in the U/15 boys shot competition finishing fourth with a personal best putt of 10.09 behind Liverpool and Pembroke's Anthony Gallagher, who won with a 12.98m effort.
Fiona Westwood also occupied fourth position in the junior women's long jump final after leaping 5.26m behind Barnsley's Fiona Harrison, the daughter of ex Wakefield and England Rugby Union captain Mike Harrison who won with a 5.64m effort.
Finally in the U/17s women's cornpetitions, the long jump was won by English Schools silver medallist Elaine Smith of Mandale with a 5.31 m leap, Wakefield's Katie Richardson claimed fifth place with 5.07m, Amy Lloyd was just behind in 6th after leaping 4.94m, and Kirsty Hodson finished 11th with her day's best effort of 4.58m. Richardson went on to Putt 8.04m to finish seventh in the shot behind Lisa Kenney of Hull Springhead who won with 10.07m.